Let’s Get Physical: The best DVD and Blu-ray releases of August 30, 2016

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jungle book

We here at Substream love to give you our fresh takes on the best new theatrical and VOD releases, but what if you love something enough to want to own a physical copy? This is our rundown of this week’s best new releases on DVD and Blu-ray, so that you know what films to add to your home video library.

The Jungle Book

Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves, finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voiced by Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.

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Read our review HERE!


The Phenom

When major-league rookie pitcher Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) can’t find the plate, he’s sent down to the minor leagues and begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti). In the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father (Ethan Hawke) are brought to light.

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Read our review HERE!


Citizen Soldier

Citizen Soldier is a dramatic feature film, told from the point of view of a group of soldiers in the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known since World War II as the “Thunderbirds.” Set in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan at the height of the surge, it is a heart-pounding, heartfelt grunts’ eye view of the war. A modern day Band of Brothers, Citizen Soldier tells the true story of a group of soldiers and their life-changing tour of duty in Afghanistan, offering an excruciatingly personal look into modern warfare, brotherhood, and patriotism. Using real footage from multiple cameras, including helmet cams, these citizen soldiers give the audience an intimate view into the chaos and horrors of combat and, in the process, display their bravery and valor under the most hellish of conditions.

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What Happened, Miss Simone? (Releasing September 2, 2016)

A classically trained musical genius, chart-topping chanteuse, and Black Power icon, Nina Simone is one of the most influential, beloved, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. On stage, she was known for utterly free, rapturous performances, earning her the epithet “High Priestess of Soul.” But amid the violent, day-to-day fight for civil rights, she struggled to reconcile artistic ambition with her fierce devotion to a movement.

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Chimes at Midnight

NEW TO THE CRITERION COLLECTION: The crowning achievement of Orson Welles’s extraordinary cinematic career, Chimes at Midnight was the culmination of the filmmaker’s lifelong obsession with Shakespeare’s ultimate rapscallion, Sir John Falstaff. Usually a comic supporting figure, Falstaff—the loyal, often soused friend of King Henry IV’s wayward son Prince Hal—here becomes the focus: a robustly funny and ultimately tragic screen antihero played by Welles with looming, lumbering grace. Integrating elements from both Henry IV plays as well as Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Welles created a gritty and unorthodox Shakespeare film as a lament, he said, “for the death of Merrie England.” Poetic, philosophical, and visceral—with a kinetic centerpiece battle sequence that rivals anything in the director’s body of work—Chimes at Midnight is as monumental as the figure at its heart.

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The Immortal Story

NEW TO THE CRITERION COLLECTION: Orson Welles’s first color film and final completed fictional feature, The Immortal Story is a moving and wistful adaptation of a tale by Isak Dinesen. Welles stars as a wealthy merchant in 19th-century Macao, who becomes obsessed with bringing to life an oft-related anecdote about a rich man who gives a poor sailor a small sum of money to impregnate his wife. Also starring an ethereal Jeanne Moreau, this jewel-like film, dreamily shot by Willy Kurant and suffused with the music of Erik Satie, is a brooding, evocative distillation of Welles’s artistic interests—a story about the nature of storytelling and the fine line between illusion and reality.

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